Repeal of the main retained EU law relating to free movement etc

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art, Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 9:45 am, 26th February 2019

I join colleagues in thanking the Clerks and the team for the work they have done. I will make a few remarks, particularly about the economic arguments sometimes made for clause 1. I have no doubt that we will spend much time debating some of these points, but let us start as we mean to go on.

On the timing of the Bill, I profoundly agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston. It seems bizarre that anyone would think it acceptable to remove, with one clause of this Bill, an entire set of rights that all citizens in this country enjoy by reciprocity with the European Union, and that European Union citizens enjoy in this country, and to replace them with nothing but the promise of a White Paper. There is no set timescale for the introduction of any new immigration system, so we are saying to people, “All your current rights will be removed and will be replaced at some point in the future. We don’t know when, and we don’t know what the new rights will be, but bear with us while we sort it out.”